Just over a year ago, FedEx Corp. purchased a startup called Bongo International, which helped retail merchants navigate the complex world of cross-border transactions. This week, the Bongo service was vastly expanded and re-launched under the brand FedEx CrossBorder in the company’s latest venture into the rapidly changing world of e-commerce.
“Actually, it’s about time we dropped the ‘e’ and just called it ‘commerce,’” Chip Hull, vice president of the new CrossBorder, recently told Air Cargo World. “This is really how most commerce is being done now. The flow of information is exceeding the flow of goods.”
According to latest FedEx estimates, e-commerce is now a US$1 trillion-per-year industry in terms of sales, and is expected to double in about four years. “If you’re not dealing in the e-commerce space now, you’re at risk of falling behind,” Hull added.
For the last year, FedEx has been working to make the Bongo service scalable as a global product so it can handle this immense volume. The result is CrossBorder, a subsidiary of FedEx’s freight forwarding arm, FedEx Trade Networks (FTN). By instantly calculating the usual cross-border trade hassles, such as regulatory compliance, package tracking, customs, duties and currency exchanges, CrossBorder simplifies international shipping and speeds up the process in a single platform.
“Only about one-third of U.S. based global e-commerce sites accept foreign currencies,” Hull said. “Research tells us that customers are more likely to abandon shopping carts that only show U.S. dollar pricing.” CrossBorder accepts more than 80 currencies and offers 15 payment options, he added, and can also handle multiple delivery options to more than 200 countries in FTN’s network.
CrossBorder also arranges all transportation options for international shipping, including air, ocean, road or rail modes, which eliminates transactional costs, he said.
The service benefits both B-to-B and B-to-C customers, Hull said. “The interface makes it look just like a domestic shipment, but now there is an option for international shipping. We do the same consolidation and shipping, exactly like we do for domestic transactions,” he said. “And all of this is done seamlessly, so there will never be a supplemental bill sent to the consumer or the merchant.”
Another major feature is the secure payment processing and fraud protection, Hull said. “Cross-border trade usually has two to three times more fraudulent activity than domestic service,” he said. “With CrossBorder, we’re able to reduce the amount of fraud to at least as low as the domestic level.”
Most importantly, Hull added, the portal is entirely customizable. “We cater to however the customer wants the portal to be set up,” he said. “We can tailor it to whichever currency you prefer in your browser and select any local language you prefer.” CrossBorder can also work within a business’ existing website and shopping cart platform, which allows merchants to maintain their brand identity.
FedEx CrossBorder is now available in the United States and Europe, but will soon be expanded to other global regions, “as our customers will dictate,” Hull said.Like This Post